Venting, Tool Porn, and Fermi Estimation

There’s the persistent notion that The Right Tool for the job is right around the next bend. I just downloaded and installed Wikidpad for the….oh who knows how many times I’ve pulled that piece of software. It’s solid. It just has a couple stylistic warts in its ease of use that prevent me from adopting it wholly which I forget about every time six months or so.

Problem is it’s one of two things:

  • An absolute vision of the right tool that’s driving me to move forward with all these little software projects to build it once and for all
  • A near perfect delusion that’s sourced from something deeper in my head, that drive that “if I just get THAT I’ll be happy.”

I suppose it could be both. Both would be good. After all, one doesn’t necessarily preclude the other at all.

But the idea of the desktop wiki based editor with reasonable keyboard navigation and a gutter with a list of pages just seems like something that would be easy to manage.

Hell, something like Visual Studio Code would be ideal for that kind of thing. You could keep the pages as individual files, as I do in my wiki, which would allow the project view to just be a giant page listing. It’s not like I really need the level of editing capabilities that something like Word or WordPerfect (yes, I still have WordPerfect) afford me. If I REALLY need fancy formatting I’ll run the shit through LaTeX.

I mean how fucking hard can it BE to write a wiki plug-in for VSC? Of course this is assuming any of the ones that are out there wouldn’t be already well suited to the task.

I SUPPOSE I could put some damned intention in to actually testing that shit out, ya think?

Gah, it’s probably a problem that solves itself with some investigation.

But I simply can’t be the only person out there who wants this kind of thing, can I? I mean I get that I’m half a bubble off plumb on the best of days. But I simply refuse to believe I’m THAT fucking unique, at least along this particular dimension.

So if you just play the estimation game of how many developers there are out there, how many have cross-discipline interests, how many of THEM are writers and abstract thinkers, how many of them have the motivation to build tools for the job and how many of THEM have a vision of what they want that’s similar enough to mine to create a “mostly compatible tool?” THEN I suppose you have to deal with the release, adoption, and exposure issue.

Not like there’s any way to really even ballpark it. I don’t expect Fermi Estimation can even get you close.

So when it’s laid out like that I suppose that number may really be very very small, only a couple, a dozen?

I COULD stop what I’m doing here, open up visual studio code and start screwing around by downloading wiki plugins and see where they take me. But I’m finally getting in the groove of putting words down here, so that’s not a today task.

“What’s wrong with the emacs wiki plug in?” Nobody’s asking.

There’s really no problem with the emacs wiki plug in. It’s served me really well for decades, and actually continues to do so at home. But the key chords required to run emacs efficiently simply don’t lend themselves to the abbreviated keyboards on small laptops. So that means I have to bring a full-sized keyboard with me whereever I go to attach to the laptop.

I’ve got one here in my bag. Yep. A full sized wired keyboard. But holy hell is it a lot to whip out and add to an already insanely cluttered cigar lounge high-top table.

So maybe to really continue this process I’ve got to just commit to screwing around with the available tools for a few hours and see if there’s something close enough that I can either use or modify to suit me.

It’s got to be out there. If not then it should be simple enough to take something that IS out there and tailor it to my use.

Well, rather enough of that particular elephant for the day I think. I’ve got other stuff to get out of my head.

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